August 9, 2011

Mount Fuji

Red Fuji southern wind clear sky
by Katsushika Hokusai

Thirty-six times and a hundred times
the artist portrayed the mountain.
Now pulled away, now compelled
(thirty-six times and a hundred times)

to return with glad impatience
to that ungraspable one.
To see it rise there, bold in outline,
withholding nothing of its majesty.

Out of each day emerging over and over,
letting the unrepeatable nights
fall away as though too small.
Each glimpse exhausted in an instant,

form ascending into form,
far off, impassive, wordless—
then suddenly the revelation
of an awareness lifting in the sky.

New Poems


  1. Lovely.

    There is a very good series of stories by Zelazny, based on Hokusai's 24-print series of Fuji. I'm not much of a direct ekphrasis phan on the whole, but Hokusai is special.

  2. It almost sounds as if Rilke is writing in disbelief that denial can be so strong among humans, though I doubt that he doubts it is because we do not use a 360 day base year.

    It sounds like Rilke understands that even if there was no lurching cycle of regular additional days, that even a clean, never changing system would be beyond the grasp of humans while clinging to denial.


"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!